CalChoice Launches Smart Device Pilot Program

This July, CalChoice launched a one-year Smart Device Pilot Program, led by the joint power authority’s recently hired Energy Program Manager Kathy Wells.

Two of CalChoice’s member community choice aggregators (CCA), San Jacinto Power (SJP) and Pomona Choice Energy, are participating in Phase I of the pilot program. In partnership with Emporia, ZNE Alliance, and EcoShift, the program will offer customers access to smart energy devices and enable real-time data on energy use by directly connecting customer smart devices to CalChoice’s energy information platform. This also includes accelerating customer adoption of Distributed Energy Resources (DER) & smart devices, including smart plugs and smart EV chargers. DERs are often used as an alternative to electricity or are used when electric use and demand is high.

“CalChoice wants to help deploy programs that not only benefit customers with opportunities to lower energy costs through green initiatives, but also to benefit the CCAs through lowering operating and power procurement costs,“ said Wells. “This program is timely and a response to extreme weather events and public safety power shut offs issued by Southern California Edison in California last summer.”

Customer identification and recruitment started in July 2021, and is being followed by installation through November 2021. Pilot operations and reporting will continue through June 2022.

The program’s long-term goals and customer benefits include access to free and discounted DER and smart devices and bill savings. Customers will have the ability to download an app and receive notifications when they should adjust their thermostat and reduce energy usage.

CalChoice and member-city benefits include real-time customer data, the ability to enable future pay-for-performance energy conservation and demand response programs, and opportunities for schedule optimization, time of use (TOU) management and settlement optimization.

Once the pilot phase is concluded, CalChoice hopes to launch another phase to include more member CCAs and customer classes, such as commercial and small businesses.